Solar Power Diary 2: All-Star

All-Star Summer Jam was an exciting and entertaining event which jump started All Star weekend on Saturday, July 9th at Mohegan Sun. Five of the returning dance team members (Katie, Brittany, Michelle, Emily and Javin) joined basketball fans, players, coaches and the Sun mascot “Blaze” on top of the Riverview Garage for a fun-filled afternoon!

Summer Jam allowed WNBA fans an opportunity to meet WNBA players, get autographs, participate in player clinics and enjoy endless entertainment! Solar Power performed on various occasions throughout the afternoon, and assisted players including Katie Smith and Michelle Snow with basketball clinics and contests.

Meanwhile, fans were able to pick up free goodie bags filled with great items, participate in contests and engage in activities scattered from one end of the roof to the other. In addition, participants were granted an opportunity to mingle with players such as Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, while learning great basketball skills during clinics run by other great players in the WNBA. In a clinic of our own, Solar Power taught young dancers-to-be one of the short routines often performed at SUN games. This was a hit for many of the young kids who loved having the opportunity to dance with Solar Power!

Just when we thought we’d done our share of dancing, it was time to prepare for the big game at night. With every seat in the house filled by fans from all states to cheer on their favorite WNBA player(s), the 2005 WNBA All Star Game was ready to begin. Some of the top players from around the country were brought together and divided into two teams; East and West. Players for the East Coast team consisted of Alana Beard, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cheryl Ford, Becky Hammon, Deanna Nolan, Ruth Riley, Dawn Staley, Ann Wauters and our own two Connecticut Sun players Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Nykesha Sales. Players on the West Coast team included Sue Bird, Marie Ferdinand, Yolanda Griffith, Chamique Holdclaw, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, Michelle Snow, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, and DeMaya Walker.

This year was the first time Mohegan Sun hosted the All Star game, and a first for Solar Power to be involved in all the action! To kick off the event, 11 Solar Power dancers joined the All Star Dance and Cheer squad, as well as the New York Liberty Lil’ Torches on the court for player introductions. After the singing of the National Anthem, performed by Grammy winning recording artist, Faith Evans, each Solar Power dancer invited 3-4 children onto the court to dance and cheer on the players as they were introduced to Mohegan Sun Arena. This was an exciting experience for the children, since several of the players gave the kids high-fives as they ran out. At approximately 4:00 pm on July 9th, the WNBA All-Star’s took the court as the fans geared up for some excitement!

Spectators were brought to their feet as the action continued from both teams with powerful lay-ups, three-pointers and intense rebounding. Solar Power performed one of our most up-beat, hip-hop dances during a timeout in the first half. Later, we joined the other entertainers during a half-time performance with “Abba Music” an Abba cover band from Europe.

Throughout the remainder of the game, Solar Power interacted and cheered on the East Coast squad which included two players from our very own Connecticut Sun; Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Nykesha Sales.

Overall, this was a great event! Both kids and fans were able to get up-close and personal with some of their favorite WNBA players as well as watch them in All-Star action. What made this event so special to Connecticut fans was to see several UConn players return to their college state to play against one another. Alumni from UConn consisted of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, and Nykesha Sales.

Furthermore, this year’s all-star squad produced one of the highest scoring all-star games ever at 122-99. However, the West Coast held tight to its 6th consecutive All-Star win. Nonetheless, both teams played hard and really enjoyed the day’s events and atmosphere at Mohegan Sun Arena.

We would like to say thank you to the WNBA for letting Solar Power participate in this exciting event, and thanks to all of the fans for coming out and making the day so great!!! See you soon at our next Connecticut Sun home game!!!

Katie and Brittany